How to Plan a Trip to Thailand with Kids

“We’re really going to have to watch the girls when we are in Thailand, especially walking down the street. You know how chaotic they are with overhanging wires, bumpy pavers, and tuk tuks and motorbikes zooming by.”

My mother’s mind had kicked into gear, imagining every possible danger and working out a commando move in advance whilst planning a trip to Thailand with the kids.

It’s the world of illogical fear that bursts into your life the minute your babe opens its mouth for that first gasp of air.

It’s what wakes me up in the middle of the night frantic with ridiculous thoughts such as:

“Oh my god. What if we were in the Northern Territory and the girls ran to the side of a billabong and a croc lurched out of the water at them?”

We don’t even have plans to go to the Northern Territory.

CRAZY.

I’ve learned not to fight it, but to instead use it as a preparation tool and a reminder to always be alert when travelling with our kids.

Planning a trip to Thailand with Kids

Kids club Thailand
Kalyra loves Kids Club

Travelling to a country such as Thailand with kids can be daunting for parents, so they give up the thought before even investigating solutions to their fears.

I completely understand, and I have lived in Thailand and travelled multiple times with NEVER a problem (and I used to take many risks).

Use these tips when planning a trip to Thailand with kids, to help conquer those fears.

Where is it best to visit in Thailand with kids

This all depends on time, budget and comfort levels. There are many exciting and memorable places to visit in Thailand.

Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket, Koh Samui and Koh Phi Phi are all popular family destinations. To go a little bit more untravelled, try Koh Lanta, Krabi, Koh Lipe, Koh Kood, and Koh Chang.

Koh Lanta Thailand
Koh Lanta

Personally, I would avoid Phi Phi (maybe a day trip) and Patong, Phuket and Koh Phangan during full moon.

See all our posts on Thailand for destination ideas.

When is it best to go to Thailand with kids?

  • December – January will be busy as it is peak season. The weather is slightly cooler (but still hot) and clear during this period.
  • April is the hottest time in Thailand, and I mean HOT! But you can cool off with the Songkran Festival (the throwing of water) as Thais and tourists roam the streets with containers of water or water guns and drench each other and passersby.
  • The rainy season is May to October (mind you it’s mostly just sudden downpours that cool you down. I however, was once stuck in my bungalow on the beach in Koh Samui for two days during torrential rain.)
  • The rainy season is a much cheaper and less crowded time to visit Thailand. Think of how much your kids will love to play in all that rain.
Longtail boat - best transport on the islands
Longtail boat – best transport on the islands

What Vaccinations do you need for Thailand with kids

Visit your doctor in advance to discuss vaccination options for your children as there are various factors involved. You don’t want to go to Thailand and have them fall drastically ill.

Typhoid is usually a recommended vaccine; you do need to have this 14 days before arrival in Thailand.

Protective gear for kids travelling to Thailand

No, I don’t mean helmets or suits of armour, although a visit to your local apothecary might be a good solution!

  • Ensure that you buy all the supplies needed to keep baby’s skin as soft and supple as the day they were born: sunscreen, mosquito repellant (deet free) hats, long sleeved shirts, rashies.
  • Pack a first aid kit. Stock it with panadol, antibiotics, sterilized needles, band-aids, antiseptic cream, bandages and any medication your child may personally need. A doctor’s letter to verify this is sometimes a good idea. Here’s a handy checklist of what to pack in your travel medical kit. 
  • If your child has any food allergies (or yourself), carry a card with what they can’t eat written in Thai. For celiacs or gluten-free requirements, I found this Thai travel card.
  • If you have an infant, take any formula that your baby may need with you as well as enough nappies (including swimmer nappies) just to be sure.

Travel Insurance for travelling to Thailand with kids

A repeated mantra of ours:

If you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel.

Especially with kids. Make sure you are covered for any activities you may be doing that require extra coverage. If you intend on riding a scooter, cover yourself with insurance. It is far too risky not to! (You do need an international licence in order for the insurance to be valid if driving a scooter yourself).

World Nomads is also a good insurance and you can read more in our post about the best travel insurance for Australians travelling overseas.

Baby travel gear for babies and toddlers

Of course, after my freak out moment of envisioning the children racing out onto a chaotic Bangkok main road, we decided we would not leave home without the Baby Bjorn and Savannah would be carried in it every time we leave the hotel. I will be triple checking the snaps. (Nah, I’m not that mad.)

Seriously the Baby Bjorn is our favourite baby travel product. It gives you free hands, gives bub a front on view of the world, keeps them safe and rests their tired little legs so you can explore and enjoy.

We’ll also be taking a travel stroller- which is perfect for those moments when Savannah (or Kalyra) need a nap!

Choose your transportation in Thailand wisely

Bangkok Floating Markets

I would so love to buzz around on the back of a motorbike with the girls. It’s one of my favourite things to do in South East Asia. My crazy mother’s mind is far too off stepping into that DIScomfort zone.

I know some parents who do it with their children (including babies and have no issues. Thai people do all the time)

Do whatever suits your comfort level and never push that.

I will probably take the girls in the back of a tuk tuk, for a short ride around a neighbourhood area, not on the open highway, however. I feel pretty safe in one, and I am sure I will be riding the drivers back to take it slow and not do Michael Schumaker corners.

I think it’s safe enough adventure for them and will help them to stretch their comfort zones.

Tuk Tuk
Tuk Tuk

In Thailand, there are plenty of buses, public songthaws and mini-vans to get around in. Also, know that in any vehicle you get into there will be no seatbelts. Makes for a fun journey trying to keep toddler still.

The best way to get around Bangkok is the super efficient, clean, and cheap SkyTrain (BTS). If that doesn’t take you where you need to go, try the subway (MRT).

planning a trip to thailand with kids
Bangkok’s SkyTrain

You can read more on getting around in Bangkok and getting around in Thailand

Clothes Packing for Thailand

I am so excited about packing for Thailand because I know I don’t have to take much. (Kalyra packed her bag herself)

kids packing for Thailand

Finally, we will be traveling in one, predictable hot climate. Just a couple of dresses, a long sleeve shirt for temple visits, thongs/flip flops, swimmers and hats.

But don’t stress too much, you can pretty much buy anything you need once in Thailand, and leave plenty of room in your suitcase for SHOPPING! Just be sure to check your weight allowance with your particular airline.

planning a trip to Thailand with kids
MBK – a mega indoor shopping market in Bangkok

Don’t forget a few toys to keep the kids busy on planes and the rare occasion they will be bored with riding elephants, building sand castles and eating street food.

Which brings me to

Street food in Thailand: should you do it or not?

Bangkok Floating Markets
BBQ chicken

YES YES YES. OMG I can’t wait to eat off the carts with my girls. Introduce them to real eating and bloody delicious, cheap food.

You can read a ton of reasons why you should eat street food, but basically, it’s supporting the local economy, it’s a cultural education, its cheap, authentic and delicious.

Keep it safe – go to the places that are busy with the locals. You can watch the vendors cook the food in front of you anyway and eat it hot after all the bugs have been killed off.

Thailand is an amazing destination to visit as a family.

Whilst planning and being prepared is important, especially for the energy and congestion that is Bangkok, the rest of the country is very relaxed and you will find yourself slipping into Thai island life without a blink of the eye.

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Planning a Trip to Thailand with Kids need not be daunting. Check out our tips to planning a memorable family trip to Thailand. #familytravel #thailand #traveltips

24 thoughts on “How to Plan a Trip to Thailand with Kids”

  1. Although I don’t have kids, I can see how Thailand can be a challenging trip to plan as a family. I currently live in Thailand, but up in jungles of the north. It seems as though you only mentioned the south, with its beautiful beaches. In the mountainous north, you get a different feel, and you can see elephants in a more natural environment!
    When you’re in Thailand, you’ll inevitably see tours for elephant trekking, and you’ll even see ads for elephant shows, and if you might also see an elephant begging for food in the streets. I urge you, and all tourists, never to give your money to any of these activities. IMHO if the tourist industry continues to support these 3 activities, Asian elephants will become extinct.
    I work for a non-profit org in Thailand to help save elephants. Please do your research beforehand to find elephant-friendly tourist activities.
    Thanks for listening…
    Mindy πŸ™‚

  2. I didn’t really go in depth about places to visit, mentioning a few- Chiang Mai is on the list. For most people coming to Thailand on a short term holiday, they aren’t going to go into areas that are more challenging to deal with. This post is more for families venturing into the deep unknown for the first time.

    Thanks for the info on the elephant trekking. I think it’s important everyone does their research.

  3. I agree that Thailand is a great country to visit. Of course my children are grown so I do not have to consider them when I visit. I think you have covered lots of things that would worry the first time family traveller to Thailand. Especially the issue of Street Food. (Gosh I can’t wait to get back there). The no seat belt issue would make it hard to keep toddlers restrained – but where there is a will there is a way. Awesome Post.

  4. Hi Guys,
    We spent a few years living inThailand, Our 2 yr old son is also blonde and blue eyed so receives a lot of attention especially up north.We taught him a few basic Thai words to help him cope.” I’m shy” worked really well along with ‘Long Live the King” Our funniest experience was when a Tuk Tuk driver went to pick him up and our little one bit him.The locals thought it was so funny.All had a good laugh!! Safe Travels/ Great Blog brings back some great memories.

    1. I love how much the locals love the kids. They treat them as their own and have the whole village raises the child attitude. They are so great with the kids and have kept ours giggling and entertained so many times.

  5. Thanks for a great blog. We are planning a trip to Kamala Beach in June with our 3 kids (aged 6,5 and 3). My husband and I visited Koh Samui and Bangkok for our honeymoon and we can’t wait to experience another part of Thailand.
    If you or any one else has any tips or recommendations for our stay in Kamala Beach I would love to hear them!!!

    1. We haven’t experienced Kamala Beach but just north is Surin and Bangtao Bay. Layan Beach at the northern end of Bangtao Bay is beautiful- so very quiet and relaxing. Apparently Catch bar in Surin is the place to watch sunset. You will have such a great time. The kids will love it

  6. I’m Thai leaving out side the country for 8 years now. After having a baby and planing to go back to visit thailand with my baby. It’s take us a lots of planing, car seat, stroleller, hotel, renting a car with seat bells… And more… Unlike travel around alone or with my husband. Things aren’t the same when we are traveling with kid(s). I know some of my family and friends won’t understand us why we have to have car seat for my baby. Or even me 8 years ago. But I see the different then and now.

    And YES street food. I’m going to eat them as much as I can πŸ™‚

  7. I am from Singapore and have always no qualms to bring my 6 years old daughter to Thailand. In fact, I have brought her there for the past 2 years already. The Thais are generally nice and friendly people. They love children and many places of interest in Thailand are free of charge for them. But like going any other countries, we shall never let our guard down and ensure the safety of our little ones :-).

    1. I have a post coming out tomorrow about how much the Thais love children. It was so awesome to see. I think Thailand is overall a very safe place.

  8. Hey I am loren from Lithuania. And this time am getting the chance to travelling Thailand. And after reading your post am excited alot. How much time should I stay there for a satisfaction trip in thailand?

  9. Great article, we are from the UK, living in Singapore. We have a 3 month old son and are planning our first trip away.. would you recommend Thailand as a first trip away or any other alternatives within a few hours flight? thanks

  10. Am taking my 4 children to Thailand. Am trawling through the many, many tours regarding Tiger Temple and Elephant Camp. Do you have any suggestions who to go with? Would greatly appreciate any help.
    Jane

    1. No. We actually don’t recommend these two tours as they don’t have the animals best intentions at heart. But, it’s certainly your choice as to whether you go.

  11. it is so great to see such a detailed article that encourages to travel thailand with family. otherwise everyone has so many doubts about this amazing land. πŸ™

  12. Hi we are thinking of going to Thailand koh samui with our 2 boys aged 16 and 10 . We have holidayed abroad before , Egypt, Florida, vagas . I was just wondering what part of Thailand is the best to go to with kids this age ? . We would like somewhere walking distance to the beach , safe and clean ? Any suggestions ?

  13. Thanks so much for the info!, we are planning to go next year with our 2 boys (10 and 11), which places would you say we CAN NOT miss?!?!?! it would probably be in may for max 3 weeks. Again thanks for all the info!

  14. Hi,
    We are interested in going to Thailand for 18 days with our 2 year old daughter. This will be our first time in Thailand. What will be the best itinerary? We really want to go to Bangkok and Phuket. Any other tips? Thanks in advance for your help.

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